In Black Panther, citizens of Wakanda have the best of everything in the world: technology, fashion, global privacy, hot people. But it took the movie’s release to reveal that they also had access to the best American cultural export ever: the long lost but ever beloved 6-second video app Vine. Like anyone else, references to Vine-born memes are part of young Wakandans’ vocabulary.
At one point in the movie, technological mastermind Shuri leads her older brother T’Challa (aka the Black Panther) through her lab, filled with gadgets non-Wakandans can only dream of. Before showing him a pair of ultra-quiet high tops she created for him to use in combat, Shuri takes a moment to make fun of the sandals T’Challa is currently wearing by shouting “What are thooooose!” a reference to the famed 2015 Vine turned super meme in which a police officer is swiftly ridiculed for his ugly shoes. The joke was a well-timed, moment of lightness in the film and the most successful comic book movie meme reference I know of. (No, the “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch” scene in X-Men 3 doesn’t count.)
Considering Black Panther’s importance to black pop culture lovers today, the reference to one of Vine’s biggest videos felt fitting. (The reference was logged by The Daily Dot and Elite Daily, amongst dozens of other people on Twitter.) The app was a space that was filled with and built up by countless black creatives, whose influences on pop culture are still being felt today. Shuri’s familiarity was a call out to just how impactful its black creators really were. Sure, the Wakandans may live in an African Eden. But would they really have had it all if they hadn’t had Vine? The creators of the film didn’t think so.